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Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking Hardcover – October 27, 1992
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Perhaps more than any other person, Marcella Hazan is responsible for bringing Italian cuisine into the homes of American cooks. We're not talking spaghetti and meatballs here--Hazan's cuisine consists of polenta, risotto, squid braised with tomatoes and white wine, sautéed swiss chard with olive oil and garlic.... Twenty years ago, when Hazan first exploded into the American consciousness with The Classic Italian Cook Book and More Classic Italian Cooking, such recipes were revolutionary. With time, however, these classic dishes have become much-beloved family favorites.
Now a new generation is ready to be introduced to Marcella Hazan's way with food, and in Essentials of Italian Cooking Hazan combines her two earlier works into one update and expanded volume. In addition to the delicious collection of recipes, this book serves as a basic manual for cooks of every skill level. Recipes have been revised to reduce fat content, and a whole new chapter full of fundamental information about herbs, spices, and cheeses used in Italian kitchens--as well as details on how to select specific ingredients--has been added. New chapters, new recipes--who could ask for more than Essentials of Italian Cooking?
From Publishers Weekly
In the language of cookbooks, the word "classic" is bandied about nearly as frequently as the terms "low-fat" and "no-cholesterol." In this case, however, the estimable Hazan ( More Classic Italian Cooking ) does indeed contribute a classic to the ever-increasing literature of Italian cuisine. A revision and update of her two previous "classic" Italian cookbooks (with more than 35 completely new recipes), this one includes recipes not "in pursuit of novelty, but of taste." As Hazan puts it, the book "is meant to be used as a kitchen handbook . . . for cooks of every level . . . who want an accessible and comprehensive guide to the products, the techniques, and the dishes that constitute imperishable Italian cooking." From marinated carrot sticks to sweet-and-sour tuna steaks, Trapani style, to tortellini with fish stuffing and polenta shortcake with raisins, dried figs and pine nuts, the outstanding recipes--many of them poetically simple--are too numerous to do justice to in few words. Included is a spirited discussion of squid and the essentials of preparing fresh pasta, gnocchi (potato dumplings), authentic risotto, frittate and polenta dishes. While writing from Venice, her home for much of the year, Hazan never fails to consider the availability of ingredients in the U.S., and never assumes that all readers understand complex methods or exotic terminology. This volume is the perfect gift for a new homemaker, a seasoned chef and all lovers of good food. Illustrated. 40,000 first printing; Home Style Book Club main selection, BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I’ve made homemade pastas before, but I’ve never seen instruction as clear and detailed as hers. The Ravioli Filled with Sweet Potatoes (flavored with amaretti cookies, prosciutto, parmigiano-reggiano, parsley, and nutmeg) in a Butter and Parmesan cheese sauce was just outstanding. I’m a little horrified by the rate my teenagers inhaled theirs, but it was beautiful.
The Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi with a Tomato and Heavy Cream Sauce was divine, and although time consuming, not difficult at all.
The Baked Stuffed Mushroom Caps were amazing. The pancetta, herbs, garlic and anchovy flavors were spot on, but the addition of the dried porcini mushrooms made the dish really special.
Pasta tossed in the Tomato Sauce with Olive Oil and Chopped Vegetables is easy enough for a weeknight meal. The Rosemary and Pancetta variation is gorgeous.
Small details like this would elevate this cookbook to a textbook, but the information available is still a LOT better than you'd find in today's cookbook. The recipes that are shared belong in an era where food was supposed to taste good and dietary restrictions weren't a factor. They're rich and full of flavors!
As this book is nearly 50 years old, some will undoubtedly smell musty. Rest it covered in kitty litter (door absorbing) or get baking soda in between as many pages as possible and rest it in a sealed bag for a few days in your fridge.
I learned how to make potato gnocchi from scratch with the beautifully drawn illustrations. Super easy, super cheap. Incidentally, I had to repurchase this cookbook because I lost my original in a move somewhere (which I had originally stolen from the book sale at the local public library when I was 14, I know I'm going to hell). Couldn't for the life of me remember the name of the cookbook until I was like 'classic italian cookbook, maybe?' googled it and it was the first hit! Hot dang! Bought it immediately, but wished I had spent the extra 4 dollars on the hardcover.
My only problem with this is the actual book itself. Its the size of a sleazy dime store romance novel you pick up at Ralphs. Do yourself a favor and splurge for the hardcover version, it's totally worth every nickel.